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Thread: Big Town versus Small Town

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Earl Finkler's avatar
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    Big Town versus Small Town

    Happy Summer everyone. My wife Chris and I just completed a one-month vacation in the Midwest ---Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin, including about two weeks of tent camping in Northern Wisconsin around Lake Superior.

    Being from Barrow, Alaska, I guess we just look for the far north these days, even during vacations.

    The contrasts between big and small communities were often huge --say flying in to Chicago from Alaska and then driving to quieter and friendly small towns like Medford, Wisonsin, Keokuk, Iowa and the Amana Colonies in Iowa. Also small farming town of Kahoka, Missouri.

    Obviously a lot less traffic, and as we age, also notice that it can be OK to drive a little slower in a small town.

    Nice to just walk around a small town, say hi to folks you meet, or wave to persons going by in cars or trucks.

    Yes, some might note there is "less to do" in a small town, but we've found plenty to do, if one just looks around ---community fairs, farmers markets, outdoor polka dances (in Wisconsin).....garden club tours and some great outdoor band and bluegrass concerts.

    What do you all think?

    Earl
    Earl the Farthest North Cub Fan

  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    Moved to the Friday Afternoon Club, with a permanent redirect from the Perry's Cantina subforum.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Did you happen by Burlington, Iowa? My old town, and Giff's new town.

    I sometimes miss living there, and think about how great it would be to raise my family there. But, it was no fun having to drive up to 2 hours to get to a decent concert, having to spend the night in a hotel if we ever wanted to go to a big city, like Chicago, or having to drive for over an hour just to get to an Old Navy or Toys R Us.

    But, southeast Iowa has lots of attributes too, that my current community doesn't have. The slower pace is just one of them. There are also a lot of great activities, wildlife and summer festivals. Unfortunately, crime and gang activity is growing, even in small Iowa towns.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian estromberg's avatar
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    My grandparents had a farm in What Cheer, IA. I basically grew up there, spending as much time there as I could, usually in 3 week stretches. I really miss it some days. Although, I think life is a little less hectic when you're 6. Not much to do but pal around with grandpa fishing for bullheads and catfish on the days we weren't on the tractor all day.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    When I was in England ans Wales about 10 years ago I enjoyed going through the smaller towns and meeting the locals at the pubs. Great discussions about local history to world politics to why I would ever support Aston Villa or Newcastle.

    Much friendly crowd and easier to strike up a conversation than in London. Not to say that London wasn't fun and I did enjoy seeing the normal tourists sites, and trying to get off some of the beaten tracks. It was kinda interesting when the bobbies told us we might want to go to Harrods or someplace else when we were close to Stamford Bridge when the Chelsea match was getting ready to end.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Earl Finkler's avatar
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    Small towns can swing!

    Thanks for responses everyone. Great perspectives. I understand about having to travel some distance to concerts, arts events, etc. Living in Barrow with no road connections, we have to fly 500 to 750 miles for such attractions, although we sometimes get some pretty good traveling musicians, plays, etc.
    And in small towns, we also learn how to make our own entertainment ---like a local rock band that plays virtually every Saturday nite. And high school dramas.
    And just hanging around the grocery store or post office and chatting about baseball, sports, politics --you name it!!
    Earl
    Earl the Farthest North Cub Fan

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Earl Finkler's avatar
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    Places to meet in small towns

    Hi Planit and all who cruise by this and other threads.
    When my wife Chris and I were walking part of the coast of Cornwall in England, we found a great place to meet the locals was the regular rummage sale. They might be in a small meeting room on main street, and besides all kinds of goods, there was always tea and some cookies, shortbread and other snacks.

    Great place to discuss international politics, finance, royal scandals, and of course soccer!!!

    Small towns in rural England are great! But we also ran into a lot of friendly folks in London.
    Cheerio
    Earl
    Earl the Farthest North Cub Fan

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    This past summer (it was actually late spring) I walked the coast-to-coast route in England. St. Bees to Robin Hoods Bay. 182 miles (or something like that). Took about two weeks averaging 10-15 miles per day. Some were longer (mountains) and there were a few longer days in there (largely due to the location of towns). I stayed in bed and breakfasts, hostels, pubs, etc. Lots of great little towns along the way. Many were tourist areas but even those that were not were pleasent and looked prosperous enough. Thats a sharp contrast to many American towns which look tired and downright depressed. Its partially the rural economy and largely the advent of out of town shopping centers and living outside the villages/towns by non-farmers. Its amazing that a country with England's population density still has a countryside left. I cringe to think what it would look like given the American pattern.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I am lucky to be living and working in a small town (6,000) which is only 6 miles from a large town (200,000). And 40 miles from a larger town (600,000). Its kind of the best of both worlds.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I spent 15 years in a small FL town of 7,000; it was an hour to the nearest city, Tampa, which is a horrible city. I will never live like that again. Everybody knows everybody else's business. I could take clothes to the dry cleaners or get prescriptions at the pharmacy and the clerks would comment on who I was dating! It was awful! (Not to mention the lack of retail amenities....)

  11. #11
    January 1, I depart the Big City for a Small Town - the first time in my life I've lived outside of the Big City.

    My visits to Small Towns have always left me wishing I could stay. I stopped in one town in Tennessee on my way to a cousin's wedding, and almost didn't get back in the car.

    Never fear, though! I won't be far from such Big City amenities as a 24-hour grocery or a 24-hour Super Wal-Mart! (Shoot, I'll be closer to a 24-hour Wally-World after January 1 than I am now!)

    Of course, I will quite obviously be the outsider. Can't really get lost in the hustle and bustle and giant crowds in a place that lacks hustle, bustle, and crowds. Plus, I'll have that darn Yankee accent.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Earl Finkler's avatar
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    Small Towns Are Hot!

    Love reading of all your adventures in smaller towns, including the wonder walk across England --stopping at little inns, b and b's. Chris and I did that on the Cornwall Coast for 5-6 days and loved it. Met great people, real people.
    Did not miss having shopping all over the place. Just like in Barrow, if we don't have, we can go without. In larger cities just going to the Mall, or Big Box store, is a form of recreation. Consumerism gone off the chart.
    Some do not like small towns where everyone knows everyone's business, but in places like Barrow that can vary ---and there is also some respect for privacy.
    So count me in on the small town side --Hey my Green Bay Packers won again tonight at Denver, and they are from the smallest town in the NFL.
    Go Pack!
    Earl
    Earl the Farthest North Cub Fan

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